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How This Keynote Speakers Bureau Hit The Inc 5000 And Nearly Doubled Its Revenue In Just Four Years
June 18, 2018 6:04 am|Comments (0)

Executive Speakers Bureau is one of the most successful speakers bureaus in the U.S. and one of the only speakers bureaus to ever hit the Inc. 5000. Founded by Angela Schelp in Memphis in 1993 (husband and partner Richard Schelp joined as president and co-owner in 2001), Executive Speakers Bureaus offers and books hundreds of keynote speakers nationally and internationally and continues to grow at a pace rarely approached in this competitive industry, nearly doubling its overall revenue and number of bookings in just the last four years, while maintaining a reputation for customer service and community involvement that is widely viewed as second to none.

Micah Solomon, Inc.com: You’ve spoken in passing about the importance of your vision of success.  Can you explain what this means specifically as it relates to commercial success?

Richard Schelp, President and Co-Owner, Executive Speakers Bureau: In order to succeed in a competitive marketplace, you need a true plan or strategy.  Our ability to anticipate some of the challenges we have had to face in the industry and our understanding of how to address those challenges has kept us ahead of our competitors and driven our success in revenue and profitability.

Solomon: I’ve heard you and Angela speak about the power of your company’s culture and the pride you take in your employees.  Can you speak a bit about this? 

Schelp: From the beginning the culture of Executive Speakers Bureau has been built around respect for each other, a true sense of team, and the fact that both what we do within our business and in our community affects many people’s lives.  Very few work environments can promise its employees this kind of value.  

Our employees are some of the best you will see in any industry, and certainly in ours.  It is not just a job to them.  They are proud of where they work, and they truly feel responsible for the success of Executive Speakers Bureau.  This is the reason why they want to stay.  They want to see this thing through to the end.  

Solomon: What in your and Angela’s prior background led you to be able to take this approach and succeed with the culture of your company and your relationship to your employees?

Schelp: Both Angela and I have a wealth of corporate experience (IBM, AT&T, and other big firms) in which we have both managed and worked for a number of people.  When you have seen a lot of examples of great and terrible management, you start to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.  All of the previous managers that I respected established environments in which I felt comfortable going to them, and they were the primary reason for me enjoying my job

 Solomon: Your bureau has grown quite quickly. How is life different now that you are an agency of significant size and pull?

Schelp: Life at Executive Speakers Bureau is definitely a little bit different now that we are much bigger.  With that does come a level of responsibility and respect.  Because of our increased size, we now have a larger role within our industry association.  As a matter of fact, I will become the president of the association next Spring. 

Also, in the early years of our bureau we used to base our decisions about processes, documents, fee recommendations, etc. on what the larger bureaus were doing.  Now we don’t check with others.  We make our decisions based on what we know and what we think makes the most sense.  Surprisingly many bureaus are following our lead, and they are calling us to ask how we do things. 

Solomon: Many of my readers are entrepreneurs and business leaders themselves. It’s very helpful and enjoyable (!) for them to hear about mistakes you’ve made or tricky situations you’ve endured in the past, what went sideways and how you either dealt with it or learned from it.

Schelp: A few years ago I faced an extremely tricky situation that taught me so many lessons as a business owner in our industry. A high-profile sports figure was supposed to speak for me at a large convention in New York.  He decided to fly in on his private plane the morning of the event.  However, there was a terrible electrical storm that morning, and his plane was grounded, leaving me without a speaker.  I received the call at 6:30AM and the speaker’s presentation was at 10:30AM.  I had four hours to find a replacement for a great speaker and get him to the event on time.  Immediately I went to work by calling all of the speakers and agents who were high quality and could get there-and, ultimately, I was fortunate enough to find a speaker who my client absolutely loved.

The lessons from this incident were numerous, but most importantly I realized just how crucial it is to have access to many resources, so that an emergency situation becomes doable, otherwise it is impossible.  Also, I learned that as long as you are determined and efficient any task can be accomplished.

 

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Telegram pushes supergroup limit to 5,000 people and makes them viewable to anyone in the public
March 14, 2016 10:00 am|Comments (0)

Telegram

Telegram has announced a handful of updates today as the mobile messaging company doubles-down on its group-chat efforts.

First up, Telegram is pushing the upper limit of groups from 1,000 people to 5,000 people — this comes just four months after the company increased the limit from 200 people to create the thousand-strong so-called “supergroups.” These groups are distinct from normal groups — once your group reaches 200 people you can now elect to upgrade it to supergroup status which optimizes it for larger communities of people. For example, new members will be able to see the whole message history when they join, and when someone deletes a message it will be deleted for everyone in the group. Also, because supergroups can be particularly large, notifications are muted by default to prevent your phone from buzzing itself into oblivion.

Telegram Public

Above: Telegram Public

In addition to larger groups, Telegram now lets users push supergroups to the public using a shareable short link, meaning anybody can view the group’s conversation history — but they’ll need to join before they can post messages. Group admins will also be given extra controls to thwart spammers, including blocking and reporting tools. Public groups are already live in Europe and the U.S., and will be rolling out gradually to other countries, though interestingly Telegram said that “several countries in Asia” don’t yet have the feature due to a history of “significant spam activity.”

Elsewhere, Supergroup admins can also now pin important news to the top of a chat, meaning everyone who joins for the first time or opens the app after some time away, will see the message. This is similar to features in other messaging apps and social networks, such as Twitter which lets you pin a tweet to the top of your timeline.

Founded in 2013 by Pavel Durov (creator of Russian social networking giant VK) and his brother Nikolai, Telegram has emerged as a major player in the increasingly competitive chat app realm. This is in part due to the company’s focus on encryption, while the app also offers a secret chat feature that makes it easy to delete messages or schedule a time for them to self-destruct.

A few weeks back, Telegram announced it had passed 100 million monthly active users (MAUs), representing a 60 percent rise in just nine months. While this is still some way off its competition, with the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp which claim almost two billion MAUs between them, it’s still a sizable entourage of users. And by focusing on building not only the size of the groups but also the visibility, the company’s hoping it can maintain its recent growth spurt.

 

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